A poem

The band began its music, and I saw
   A hundred people in the cabaret
   Stand up in couples meekly to obey
The arbitrary and remorseless law
Of custom. And I wondered what could draw
   Their weary wills to this fulfillment. Gay
   They were not. They embraced without dismay,
Lovers who showed an awful lack of awe.

Then, as I sat and drank my wine apart,
   I pondered on this new religion, which
   Lay heavily on the face of the rich,
Who, occupied with ritual, never smiled—
Because I heard, within my quiet heart,
Happiness laughing like a little child.